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Last updated August 2019

This chapter outlines the risks associated with smoking, and how to manage them to comply with your health and safety duties.

Your health and safety obligations in relation to smoking

While smoking is not specifically mentioned in health and safety legislation, smoking is a health and safety risk that must be minimised as part of your general obligation to provide a safe workplace.

Important: A Canadian study published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine in 2018 found that many heavy smokers at work held occupations involving heavy manual work, which required frequent breaks, allowing for a cigarette. The study also found that affected workers frequently perceived lower levels of support from supervisors or managers, suggesting that smoking was a form of coping with a stressful environment.

Health and safety risks of smoking

There are numerous risks associated with smoking, including:

  • health risks, which can result in short-term and long-term illness in both smokers and passive smokers, such as heart disease, cancer, lung disease, asthma attacks, respiratory tract infections and stroke; and
  • the risk of an accident, such as explosion or fire due to smoking near flammable material or failure to properly extinguish matches and cigarette butts.